REPORT to ROCKINGHAM CONGREGATION on the PRESBYTERY MEETING held on 16th June at Tranby College

Rev Toby Keva and Peter Ogden attended the meeting as reps from this Congregation, and Rockingham’s musicians and singers provided leadership during the opening Worship conducted by Rev Toby. There would have been at least 100 representatives from metropolitan and country Congregations.

Following Worship, the meeting, with Presbytery Chairperson, Rev Lorraine Stokes, consisted of Reports from the various Presbytery Committees, occasionally with Proposals to be considered and voted on, and with opportunities for questions.

The Presbytery Standing Committee report was given by the Chairperson, and in my opinion, it set the tone for the meeting. It commenced: “The journey to becoming a separate council within our inter-conciliar church is a complex one. Many people within the Presbytery and the Church Office are still not sure of what a Presbytery is. The Standing Committee has encountered many difficulties as it seeks to establish a Presbytery which is itself a unified body of congregations working together to achieve the mission objectives adopted by the Synod and the Presbytery. We have more committees in our Presbytery than any other presbytery in Australia. There is a real concern that we are too siloed in our thinking having so many small and diverse committees.”

Various steps are in progress to bring focus and change to the situation but solutions are many months away.

The Strategy and Mission Planning Committee

“The purpose of the Committee is to serve the Presbytery by:
providing inspiration, resourcing, oversight and guidance to the Uniting Church in WA in order to enable and encourage the Presbytery, congregations, faith communities and other church bodies to discern theologically and engage strategically in the Mission of God in their communities.”

It seeks at all levels to: develop a culture of open communication, promote a culture of faith formation and sharing,develop and promote relevant training and leadership development resources, increase the church’s capacity for community engagement.

To these ends we were reminded of 2 unanimous decisions which were made at the February Presbytery meeting concerning mission focussed goals and which related to

1. commencing all Congregation committee meeting agendas with ways in which they might:

    a. develop Fresh Expressions of Church,

    b. make deliberate, wise and prayerful mission planning and community outreach,

    c. work to be part of and create Collaborative Networks of Faith Communities.

2. promoting training courses and encouraging folk to be involved.

The Committee hopes to be able to provide funds in the future to assist church members to be able to undergo such training.

We were advised that a new Mission Planner has been appointed. She is Rev Alison Gilchrist, an Anglican who is very experienced and energetic.

Commission for Education, Discipleship and Leadership

CEDAL is responsible for providing education and training which equips members and leaders (both lay and ordained) for mission and ministry within the Uniting Church in Western Australia.

This was a comprehensive report listing a host of activities and venues through which education and training and support are provided.

We were also advised that:
In mid-2017 the Presbytery of WA gave 12 month’s notice of its intention to withdraw from the Perth College of Divinity. This decision was endorsed by a Special Presbytery Meeting in August 2017. As we will no longer be part of PCD, this means we are no longer part of their partnership with Murdoch University. PTH has already moved its offices from Murdoch to the Synod of WA offices in East Perth and has over the last year been using a range of locations for educational programs. We are this year a “pilgrim people” with the plan to establish a new base for both staff and educational programs in 2019.

Congregational Community Services Committee

The CCSC acts for the Presbytery by supporting and exercising oversight of congregational community service activities.

The work of the CCSC Consultant, Ian Passmore, has provided high level support, advice and assistance at the local congregational level to Church Councils, local Boards, staff and volunteers.

The report lists over 60 Congregation based outreach activities or services.

Candidates for Ministries Committee

  • Responsible for promoting the call to specified ministries.

  • Anyone responding to a call enters a Period of Discernment for from 12 to 18 months – there are currently 11 people doing so.

  • There are currently 2 people doing studies at PTH to become Ministers of theWord and in the past 12 months, 1 Deacon and 2 Ministers were ordained.

  • There are 2 Lay Preacher candidates.

Pastoral Relations Committee

The Committee provides pastoral oversight and works with congregations in Life and Witness consultations, reviews congregational and minister profiles, oversees Joint Nominating Committees and prepares reports for the ongoing streamlining and updating of ministry.

Proposal: that existing Congregations with less than a total of 16 confirmed members and members-in-association be designated as a Faith Community.

This was passed with slight change.

Rural Ministry Committee

“A mandarin is not a failed orange!”

A moving and hope filled report on behalf of the growing number of small rural congregations.

Proposal: That the Presbytery approves:

  1. the placement of two extra FT equivalent ministry agent positions (making a total of    three FT equivalent placements) to work with rural and small communities to assist those communities in their missional life and outreach;

  2. the funding for these positions to be made available from the start of 2019 for an initial 5 year period and;

  3. that the Rural Ministry Committee, in communication with other Presbytery bodies, put together job descriptions for the new positions;

  4. these were not passed in that form as finance hinges on budget issues which is primarily a Synod function.

(Report prepared by Peter Ogden - Congregation Representative)

 

PASTORAL STATEMENT AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE LAW POSTAL SURVEY

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus.

The week ahead will be challenging for our community and our church, as the results of the Government’s voluntary postal survey on same gender marriage will be released.

We are in challenging times facing a range of disturbing issues all of which go to our common humanity – our inherent worth to God and to each other. This affects how we speak and act and, as disciples of Jesus, we are called to reflect upon what the gospel asks of us.

This week we have been meeting together in Sydney and sharing our heart for the Church, the whole people of God.

Every human being is of equal value to God. From the creation story, to the birth of Jesus and our own baptism, we assert that every person is created in God’s image, and our worth is without question. Our humanity is made whole in Jesus Christ.

Whatever the result of the postal survey, many people in our community will feel hurt, some deeply. Our families and friends who are LGBTIQ have found the whole survey incredibly difficult, and indeed unsafe. Many of our families and friends in the broader community have also found this time disconcerting.

There has been a great deal of anger, fear and hurt, for which we grieve.

The question for us is how we will act as the church now, and in the weeks and months ahead. We must care for each other, acknowledging that most of our congregations will host a diversity of opinions, as does our community. We cannot use our roles in the church to tell people what to think, to criticise, or to abuse, others.

Ministers and those in specified ministry have particular responsibilities to demonstrate leadership that all with whom they engage, whether directly or through various social or other media platforms, hear and experience the witness of the gospel to the God given dignity of all people.

We are the Uniting Church, a wonderfully diverse community of faith, which is founded in the grace of God’s act in Jesus Christ.

We are responsible to, and for, each other. We need to pray for wisdom, courage and discernment. In this difficult season, we will look towards Christ and encourage others to do the same.

“God has given to all people in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation. The Church’s call is to serve that end: to be a fellowship of reconciliation.” (Paragraph 3 Basis of Union).

Friends, when we allow the Spirit to shape us then our witness and love, counters the hostility of the world and testifies to the reality of the risen crucified One.

If you need support please make contact with your Presbytery or Synod.

Be assured that we are praying for our whole church, and for the community in which we live.

Grace and peace,

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Stuart McMillan, President

 

Rev. Sharon Hollis, Moderator, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania

Rev. Simon Hansford, Moderator, Synod of NSW and the ACT

Rev. David Baker, Moderator, Synod of Queensland

Rev. Sue Ellis, Moderator, Synod of South Australia

Rev. Thresi Mauboy, Moderator, Northern Synod

Rev. Steve Francis, Moderator, Synod of Western Australia

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Synod WA Office:   +(08) 9260 9800, Fax: (08) 9328 2731,            Address: 85-89 Edward Street, Perth, 6000 Western Australia

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40th Anniversary Celebrations at Rockingham Congregation

The worship space at Rockingham was transformed into a restaurant space on Friday night 16th. June.It was completed by the Youth Group as their contribution to the congregation's UCA 40th birthday celebration on Sat 17th. Church Council had decided we needed to celebrate the birth of our church. I was asked to organise an event.

With a small committee of 4 we organised a lunch and invited 3 former ministers as guests. The program included 6 short speeches by 4 former ministers, Ken Deveraux, John Edwards, Ian McPherson, Alan Jeffries, our current Minister Toby Keva and the Chair of the Church Council, Ken Paton. They were all asked to highlight something from their time at Rockingham. One thing that was mentioned was that John Edwards, now retired and a member of our congregation, was one of the first people to be ordained in the Uniting Church, shortly after union.

Rockingham was different to many congregations at Union as there were only Methodist congregations in this area. Since then former Presbyterian and Congregational members have joined.

The lunch ended with us all enjoying a birthday cake with the 40th Logo on it. Our choir sang two items, one of which had the lyrics written by Jennifer Ligtermoet originally for the 10th anniversary. The words are still relevant. Here is one of the verses.

"With God to help us travel, We’re working hand in hand, To build a new tomorrow, For all to understand, Uniting is continuous, This process never ends, Together with new vision, Wherever God may send"

Gerry Ligtermoet

 Minister's, past and present, cutting the Anniversary Cake

Minister's, past and present, cutting the Anniversary Cake

 40th Anniversary Cake

40th Anniversary Cake